Higher RMPS World Religions: Buddhism

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Higher RMPS
World Religions: Buddhism
Introduction to Buddhism
The Life of the Buddha
Siddhartha Gautama
Siddhartha Gautama is the
name of the man who became
the Buddha
He lived in northern India
2500 years ago
He was born in Lumbini which
is in modern day Nepal
He spent 45 years travelling
and teaching
He passed away at the age of
80 in Kusinara less than
200km from where he was
born
Conception
The Buddha’s conception and
birth are marked by
miraculous events
As his mind descended into
his mother’s womb from one
of the heavens, a great light
appeared in the world
His mother Queen Maya
dreamed that a magnificent
white elephant entered her
body
Her pregnancy lasted 10
months which is normal for
enlightened beings
She had no pain in child birth
Birth of the Buddha
According to the story, queen
Maya gave birth standing up
The baby emerged from her right
side with no blood or water
As soon as he was born he was
able to walk and talk
Lotus blossoms appeared in his
footsteps, he declared that this
would be his last rebirth
He was given the name
Siddhartha which means
‘fulfilment of wishes’
The renowned holy man Asita
visited the palace, he prophesised
that Siddhartha would become a
great leader like his father or a
homeless holy man depending on
how much suffering he saw
Life in the Palace
Siddhartha was a Hindu
prince brought up with the
greatest luxury and splendour
The prophecy of Asita
determined how his father
brought him up
He was excellent at all he did,
sport, wrestling, archery,
mathematics,, music etc.
He was tall and handsome,
kind and well mannered
When he was a child his
father took him to a ploughing
competition where he fell into
the fist state of meditation
A Life of Indulgence
All suffering was kept hidden
from Siddhartha
All possible comforts were
provided for him
He was given 3 palaces, one
for each season
He was surrounded by parks,
gardens, music and beautiful
young attendants
At 16 he married the beautiful
Yashodhara
They had a baby son whom
they named Rahula
It seemed Siddhartha had
everything he could want
Leaving the Palace
Siddhartha decided that he wanted to see the world outside
the palace, he went with his servant Channa
His father had arranged for him to follow a specific route on
which all suffering had been removed
Young healthy people lined the route that Siddhartha was
supposed to take
He came across an old man at the side of the road, he had
no teeth, white hair, his legs were so weak that he needed a
stick
Siddhartha was shocked by the sight and asked Channa
what was wrong with him
Channa replied that he is old; old age comes to everyone, it
destroys youth and beauty
Siddhartha was filled with compassion
Siddhartha was so upset that he returned to the palace
He made three more trips out of the palace
The First Sight: Old Age
The Second and Third Sights: Sickness
and Death
The second time he left the
palace he saw a very sick person,
not knowing what was wrong he
asked Channa
Channa explained that sickness
would happen to everyone at
some point in their lives
The next time he left the palace
he saw a dead body being carried
to the cremation ground
Never having seen death he
asked Chann
“Death is the end of life which no
one can escape”
Siddhartha was deeply sadened
by this
The Fourth Sight
On his final journey out of the
palace Siddhartha saw a
homeless holy man
He owned nothing but what he
carried
He told Siddhartha that he
was seeking the Truth and
had given up all worldly
pleasures
He was happier than he had
ever been
Siddhartha was inspired by
this man
He wanted to find a way to be
happy
Finding the Answers
Why do people suffer and is
there any way to overcome
it? These were the questions
that Siddhartha was now
asking
He was so affected by
suffering that he could no
longer live a life of luxury
He escaped from the palace,
cut off his hair as a symbol of
renunciation and
He practiced meditation with 2
masters for a number of years
but still had no answer to his
questions
Asceticism
On giving up meditation
Siddhartha decided to try
something else to help him find
answers
He found 5 ascetics in the forest
and spent a number of years with
them
He practiced an extreme form of
body mortification known as
asceticism
He fasted, held his breath for long
periods of time, sit in the burning
sun all day or bathe in ice cold
water
He became very weak from lack
of food and realised that he would
die if he did not eat
The Middle Way
Siddhartha accepted some
food from a village girl and
gave up this extreme way of
life
He decided to practice a
middle way; a life between the
two extremes
The extremes had not brought
him any closer to the answers
He had experienced life in the
palace, indulgence and life as
an ascetic and neither had
worked
He decided that the only way
to live was to live a balanced
life between the two extremes
The Enlightenment
Siddhartha decided that
meditation was the only way
to uncover the truth
While meditating under a bodi
tree he was tempted by Mara
Mara is the demon which
represents sensual desire and
death, he corrupts the mind
Mara used fear to distract
Siddhartha and then he used
his daughters to seduce him
Nothing worked, Mara failed
and fled
Siddhartha experienced
unimaginable joy and an
awakening known as the
enlightenment

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